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We begin our photographic and historical odyssey along the western margin of the continental United States, a continental edge that many regard as the US's "leading edge". We agree with that notion, but from a geological standpoint. The North American continent represents a vast mass of continental crust that drifts ever westward, riding roughly over the subducting Pacific ocean plates forcing them deep below the Earth's surface where they are "recycled" by the planet's internal processing engines, the smokestacks of which are the arc of active volcanoes that line the Pacific's rim.

The tumult that is frequently the interface between the Pacific Ocean's waves and the ruggedly butressed California Coast is every bit as dramatic as the turbulence of the plate boundaries deep beneath. The site of such drama calls for equally dramatic imagery.

Please click on any of the following thumbnail views to view a larger image and scroll down for the related explanatory notes.

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